Communication department hosts annual MAB Day, connects students with industry professionals


From left: Aundrea Self; Woody Wilkins; Emily Forrester; Craig Ford; Mark Little; Brad Kessie; Rick McLaughlin; Melissa Boswell


STARKVILLE, Miss.-- Students in Mississippi State University’s Department of Communication hosted 12 broadcast, advertising and multimedia professionals from across the state for its 6th annual Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day, an event providing mentorship and hand-on learning for MSU students.


MAB Day, hosted by MSU’s Department of Communication, originally began as a single panel discussion with a few journalists. Within the last six years, MAB Day has evolved into a day-long event offering a variety of sessions and opportunities for students to meet with a dozen professionals in their fields of interest.


Mississippi Association of Broadcasters is a professional organization of reporters, journalists, general managers, and other TV and radio executives.


Philip Poe—an associate professor for the Department of Communication who teaches Introduction to News Writing, Journalism Ethics and News Writing for Electronic Media—organized and moderated the event.


Amanda Fontaine, executive director of MAB, worked with Poe to bring industry professionals to MSU. Fontaine ensures MAB is connected with universities in the state, creating lasting relationships to increase mutually beneficial employment opportunities.


Poe said a current goal of MAB Day is to broaden the scope of panelists and topics.


“We’re always trying to broaden the focus. We want to involve as many students as possible because of the networking opportunities,” said Poe.


MAB Day included a storytelling workshop in which professionals advised and instructed students in identifying and telling engaging stories for various audiences and clients. Also, a media management breakout session allowed students to network directly with MAB professionals and ask questions about the “ins and outs, hows and whys” of media management.


MAB professionals met with MSU Communication Instructor Chris Misun’s TV production class for TV production conversations, and other sessions included a sales and marketing workshop. Students also were provided an opportunity to share personal reels and portfolios if desired.


Poe said the one-on-one time allowed students to “humanize” the media professionals.


“Anything we can do to sort of humanize the professionals...‘Somebody else is having their portfolio reviewed, okay. They’re going to tell me what I’m good at and tell me what I can improve on,’” Poe explained.


“I want to help the students get networking opportunities and learn about the job market,” Poe said. “But I also see it as an opportunity to showcase our department and build goodwill and affinity with these professionals so that when they do have a job opening, I'm the one they email—or Dr. Likes is the one they email—and we can sort of become gatekeepers in that way.”


Zoie Henson, a junior from Philadelphia, MS, majoring in communication with a concentration in public relations and philosophy said, “MAB Day was an incredible opportunity, and I learned so much about media, advertising and how it all intersects with every other area within communication. I loved hearing from the media professionals.”


Open to all MSU students, the event is designed specifically for communication students concentrating in journalism, broadcast, and public relations. Each session focused on specific industry-related topics.


Part of MSU’s College of Art and Sciences, the Department of Communication offers a bachelor of arts degree in five concentration areas: broadcast & digital journalism, communication & media studies, print & digital journalism, public relations, and theater. More information is available at


MAB Day 2021 professionals included:


Aundrea Self, WCBI


Brad Kessie, WLOX


Craig Ford, WTVA


Emily Forrester, WDAM


Jim Moodie, WTOK


Joey Barnes, WCBI


Mark Little, WLBT


Mary Carroll Sullivan, WCBI


Melissa Boswell, Boswell Media


Rick McLaughlin, WAPT


Sharon Kent, WONA-FM


Woody Wilkins, Delta News





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